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Author Topic: Jumpships of the Bastion: Logistics is Sexy  (Read 316 times)

Liam's Ghost

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Jumpships of the Bastion: Logistics is Sexy
« on: 02 December 2023, 07:16:33 »
Jumpships of the Bastion

  The Bastion's inhabited territory consists of six star systems, seven inhabited "primary worlds", and hundreds of colonies, outposts, mining stations, and homesteads on the various other planets, moons, asteroids, and other bodies spread across those systems. Despite initial hopes by Jonathan Cameron that his hidden paradise could be kept safe by restricting its interstellar capabilities, the modern Bastion cannot function as it does without a large civilian jumpship fleet supporting it. Even in the beginning, when the Bastion consisted only of the world of Martin's Landing, this fact was still apparent to the original founders, particularly those who had come from Sol's asteroid belt.
  Even so, shipbuilding in the Bastion got off to a fairly slow start. The Bastion would only launch its first domestically produced jumpship, the Packet class, in 2750, and even then it was only useful to carry messages or small amounts of cargo and passengers to and from the small settlements that had begun to spring up in the outer reaches of the Martin's Landing system. While a domestically produced version of the Merchant class would follow a couple years later, even these ships (and the small cargo dropships then available) would only marginally boost the Bastion's transport capacity, but it was still enough to see small colonies planted in five neighboring systems and establish dozens of resource extraction operations on other planets, moons, and asteroids throughout the Martin's landing system.
  It would be over a decade after the first Merchant class ships were launched that the exponential growth of the Bastion's industrial and resource extraction sectors began to rapidly outstrip existing civilian transport capacity. During this period, massive, high efficiency factories would frequently find themselves running idle for days at a time while megatons or even gigatons of raw materials sat at extraction sites waiting for scarce transport. Less than a hundred jumpships, eighty percent of them Merchant class, could only struggle to keep up with this massive demand while also maintaining the flow of goods between Martin's Landing and its extrasolar colonies. While commercial and political concerns argued over who should have priority over the existing fleet, plans for a massive expansion of the merchant marine were put into place, leading to the development of the first Mammoth class autofreighters as well as the Conveyor class jumpship, the first of which would enter service within a month of the start of the Periphery Uprising in the Inner Sphere.
  Production of these new ships started slowly, but would rapidly accelerate as several new production centers opened up throughout the Martin's Landing system over the later 2760s. By the next decade, chronic shortages in raw materials had turned to massive gluts in the market, which the Bastion would channel into further investments in all sectors of their economy, while also storing up massive strategic reserves of germanium, titanium, gold, and other critical metals. With concerns that the then ongoing Amaris Coup might somehow spill into the Bastion at an all time high, the Bastion would also invest heavily in decentralizing their industries, building new shipyards and production facilities of all types on each of the colony worlds and their surrounding star systems. By the end of the Amaris Civil War, the Bastion's merchant marine had expanded to nearly a thousand jumpships and dropships, with the production capacity to add hundreds more annually.
  But by this point, actual production of merchant ships was already slowing down as the shipbuilding industry had begun retooling for war. Concerns over Amaris had been the initial trigger for this militarization, resulting in materials being shifted away from civilian production to begin building factories to manufacture fighters, dropships, and the necessary "long lead" materials needed to support capital ship construction. Kerensky's rapid conquest of the Rim Worlds Republic, then the beginning of the Terran Campaign, eased many of these fears. With Amaris concentrating everything he had trying to hold on to the Hegemony, it had become clear that he wasn't going to somehow attack the Bastion. The work expanding the Bastion's military or planning for a true manned navy did not completely halt, however, even when news of Kerensky's victory on Terra reached the Bastion. The Bastion's leadership in the Senate had already decided that the Bastion would have a manned navy to replace its now untrustworthy SDS system, even if the lack of an immediate threat meant they could ease off some. Civilian shipbuilding would continue at a brisk pace, while in the background the Senate and the Admiralty hemmed and hawed over what its new navy should look like.
  This background discussion would be brought to a screeching halt in 2783, when news of Kerensky's planned exodus reached Martin's Landing, bringing with it genuine fears, which matured into a system wide panic, that he planned to invade and conquer the Bastion to resettle his army. Within a week of the news, the Senate had declared a state of emergency and a crash armament program which would see the Bastion's entire shipbuilding industry shifted to a war footing. Civilian shipbuilding ceased. In many cases half completed or nearly completed hulls would be pulled from their slips and sent straight to be breakers to make way for the WarShips and assault ships that would take their place. The civilian firms that had paid for these new ships were given little choice to accept a government payout for their losses even as that same government poached most of their trained personnel for service in the new fleet. While the Bastion's economy as a whole would enjoy rapid unchecked short term growth during this building frenzy, civilian shipping actually contracted sharply from the lack of manpower and the government mandate to redirect trade towards supporting the naval building program. While efforts to decentralize Bastion industry decades prior helped ensure that the impact on the colony worlds was not as drastic as it could have been, each colony world would experience frequent brief periods of scarcity not seen since the 2750s, leaving some seeds of resentment between these worlds and the fortunate people of Martin's Landing that would fester among the elders of their populations for generations. The Bastion's vast spacer community also felt the pinch. The lack of available shipping and mandatory conscription which targeted these space experienced peoples particularly hard, halting further expansion in these communities for nearly two decades. Already chafing against restrictions which prohibited unrestricted settlement outside of the Bastion's six claimed star systems, these new pressures pushed tensions between the Spacers and "Dirtyfeet" of the Bastion to the breaking point. Unity against a possible attack could only carry the Bastion so far, and as every year passed with Kerensky nowhere to be seen, resentment grew.
  What ultimately prevented this cauldron of resentment from boiling over was that even the Bastion could not maintain the pace of production that typified the building programs of the 2780s indefinitely. Even with the entire merchant fleet doing nothing but move materials to the Bastion's various factories and shipyards, the supply never quite met the demand, and while the Bastion possessed what had once been seen as vast strategic reserves for just this sort of emergency, even these were rapidly being depleted to make up this shortfall. While it is often said that the Admiralty and Senate eased up on the building program because they had finally realized that Kerensky wasn't actually going to invade, the simple fact was that the Bastion couldn't afford to maintain the breakneck pace seen in the 2780s, Kerensky or no Kerensky.
  Civilian shipbuilding would resume in 2788, and the Bastion would lift its emergency restrictions on civilian trade by 2792. Life would gradually return to normal for the Bastion's citizenry, though the near universal adoption of longevity treatment meant some of the resentments carried over from this period would persist for centuries. The domestic problems and shortages experienced during the 2780s would see the Bastion pour money cut from the military budget into civil expansion, funding the opening of new resource extraction outposts, investing in the civil industries on the colony worlds, and most relevant to our purposes, financing more rapid expansion of the merchant fleet. With naval production only reduced and far from eliminated, it would take time for this later effort to truly bear fruit. It was not until the middle of the twenty ninth century that civilian shipbuilding had reached pre-buildup levels, but from then on the merchant fleet would continue to grow explosively until well into the thirtieth century before slowing again, not because of any outside affect, but simply because by this point the supply of cargo ships and jumpships was finally keeping up with the demand from the Bastion's vast and spread out holdings, and further growth in the fleet would from this point onward fairly consistently track growth in resource consumption, with spikes in shipbuilding corresponding to the establishment of a new mining outpost or periods where large blocks of ships reach obsolescence. The majority of modern production in fact goes to replacing older, worn out ships, rather than expanding the merchant fleet, and today the merchant fleet shows a fairly consistent modest growth rate of around two percent. Of course this still amounts to over a hundred new jumpships being commissioned every year, and a few times that number of cargo carriers, not counting those ships built to replace older vessels. The Bastion's many major shipping companies each command hundreds of ships, which combined move nearly one hundred billion tons of cargo from point to point annually. Based on the best reckonings of our own surveys of the Inner Sphere and reports from the Morgan Commission, this could very well make the Bastion the largest and most active interstellar economy left in all of human occupied space. An honestly sobering prospect given this was achieved primarily by not participating in the mutual suicide pact that was the Succession Wars.
  It must be acknowledged that as robust as the Bastion's economy and its merchant marine are, they are also constrained by the size of the Bastion itself. Ultimately, the Bastion is only six star systems, and its population (and the growth of that population) is finite, and civilian companies are by law prohibited from seeking new markets outside the Bastion's borders. We are already seeing signs that the explosive growth the Bastion is accustomed is beginning to plateau, just as shipbuilding did two centuries ago. If the Bastion wants to avoid the inevitable crash, it may have to consider the unthinkable and look beyond its borders for new markets to conquer.

Packet class Jumpship: The first jumpships built in the Bastion, these ships served exclusively as messengers and small passenger transports, and they were surprisingly sophisticated as a result, incorporating a lithium fusion battery to ensure that not only could a message be delivered quickly to its destination, a response could be returned just as quickly. Though establishing hyperpulse communications was the first priority in each of the colony worlds, packet ships would hold on to their primary role for several decades, given the numerous far flung outposts established in the Martin's Landing system, and later in the other colonial systems. Though it is long out of production in the major shipyards of the Bastion, major spacer communities still build and operate the Packet as survey ships and couriers, while major companies or VIPs might use the ships (usually with more luxurious passenger accommodations) as personal transports.

Merchant class Jumpship: This light upgrade of the classic Merchant class incorporated improved automation to reduce crew requirements as well as improved recreational facilities and endurance over the original model. The class was only in production for thirteen years, and despite briefly making up the majority of the civilian jumpship fleet, it would be very rapidly supplanted by the larger Conveyor class. A few of the oldest trading firms in the Bastion keep a merchant class ship on the books more as a display piece rather than an active ship, and the cargo holds of these vessels are often converted into office or museum spaces. Though the class is long out of production, a trickle of spare parts are still manufactured to service the jumpships of the Morgan Commission during their semi-annual trips to the Bastion. While the Commission procures its own ships in the inner sphere, these regular overhauls inevitably tend to upgrade these vessels to something close to the Bastion standard.

Conveyor class Jumpship: Effectively the standard jumpship of the Bastion merchant marine, the Conveyor dominated the civilian merchant fleet for nearly four centuries, and even today remains the most common jumpship, or even jump capable craft in general, in the Bastion by a very wide margin. While in recent years major trading firms have begun transitioning to the larger and more efficient Colossus class, the Conveyor is unlikely to disappear any time soon.

Colossus class Jumpship: The Colossus originally began as a military project. Following the discovery of the clans and the senate wide malady which was their calls for war, the military was forced to acknowledge that it was in no way actually capable of prosecuting such a war. Even if the Army could somehow raise enough troops from a population that wanted nothing to do with a bloody foreign war, the Navy would still have to move that force across the vast void between the Bastion and the Inner Sphere, and the Navy had precisely forty seven transport jumpships in its fleet, and most of these were old Merchant class well past their prime. As this would be wholly inadequate, and because the standard tactic of simply contracting civilian merchant ships would not be permitted, the Navy would instead solicit bids for new jumpships. Either out of a desire for efficiency or a desire to delay preparations for a war that nearly every flag officer opposed, the Admiralty insisted on a new design with the capability of carrying twelve dropships. Whether or not anyone in the Admiralty knew that this demand was actually impossible is subject to some debate, but after some back and forth with a whole series of increasingly frustrated naval architects, the Admiralty "generously" reduced this requirement to ten docking collars, just in time for the Blue Revolution to render the whole argument moot. Between economic instability, budget cuts, and a new government that would absolutely not embroil the Bastion in a costly foreign war, the Navy never actually ordered any of the new jumpships, not even to replace the Merchant class ships unceremoniously sent to the breakers as a cost saving measure. Instead, the designers, hoping to recoup their development cost, put the new Colossus class on the civilian market.
  Though billed as the logical next step up from the Conveyor class, the Colossus struggled to find its footing. Some firms found the ship's military origins unsettling (it still retained the bunk space for a marine detachment). Others held centuries of brand loyalty to the Conveyor class. Still more wondered if upgrading to a larger ship when there were still relatively few civilian yards where that ship could go for maintenance. Sales of the class were therefore slow for the first thirty years or so, but as the Colossus has proved itself in service and most civilian maintenance facilities have expanded to accommodate the big ships, its market share has gradually increased, and many firms are gradually replacing their older Conveyors with new Colossus class ships as the older ships reach the end of their service life. There is still a long way to go before the Colossus can claim the dominant spot in the merchant fleet.
 
Code: [Select]
Packet Jumpship
Mass: 50,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2750
Mass: 50,000
Battle Value: 615
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-E-F
Cost: 595,777,250 C-bills

Fuel: 200 tons (2,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 3
KF Drive Integrity: 2
Heat Sinks: 79
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 6
    Fore Sides: 5/5
    Aft Sides: 5/5
    Aft: 6

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Small Craft (1)         1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (24.5 tons)       1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 10
Crew:  2 officers, 7 enlisted/non-rated, 5 bay personnel, 30 passengers

Notes: Equipped with
    lithium-fusion battery system
27 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
None
Code: [Select]
Merchant Jumpship (Bastion)
Mass: 120,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2752
Mass: 120,000
Battle Value: 746
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-E-F
Cost: 543,529,625 C-bills

Fuel: 300 tons (1,500)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 4
KF Drive Integrity: 4
Heat Sinks: 98
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 8
    Fore Sides: 6/6
    Aft Sides: 6/6
    Aft: 7

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Small Craft (2)         2 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (443.5 tons)      1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Dropship Capacity: 2
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 6
Crew:  2 officers, 10 enlisted/non-rated, 10 bay personnel

Notes: Mounts 32.5 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
None
   
Code: [Select]
Conveyor Jumpship
Mass: 260,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2765
Mass: 260,000
Battle Value: 1,965
Tech Rating/Availability: E/E-X-E-F
Cost: 1,134,418,167 C-bills

Fuel: 300 tons (750)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 5
KF Drive Integrity: 6
Heat Sinks: 123
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 18
    Fore Sides: 17/17
    Aft Sides: 17/17
    Aft: 18

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Small Craft (2)         2 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (308.5 tons)      1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Dropship Capacity: 6
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 6
Crew:  4 officers, 15 enlisted/non-rated, 10 bay personnel

Notes: Mounts 130 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
None
   
Code: [Select]

Colossus Jumpship
Mass: 500,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 3055
Mass: 500,000
Battle Value: 4,065
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-X-E-F
Cost: 1,858,273,667 C-bills

Fuel: 400 tons (1,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 6
KF Drive Integrity: 10
Heat Sinks: 154
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 36
    Fore Sides: 36/36
    Aft Sides: 36/36
    Aft: 36

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Small Craft (4)         4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (2266.5 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Dropship Capacity: 10
Grav Decks: 1 (100 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 20
Crew:  6 officers, 25 enlisted/non-rated, 20 bay personnel, 20 marines

Notes: Mounts 270 tons of ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
None
   
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

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Daryk

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Re: Jumpships of the Bastion: Logistics is Sexy
« Reply #1 on: 02 December 2023, 09:11:20 »
10 collars for under 2 billion is pretty good! :)

truetanker

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Re: Jumpships of the Bastion: Logistics is Sexy
« Reply #2 on: 13 December 2023, 20:08:27 »
Can we see the OG Colossus WS plans?

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